Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  May 30, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

10:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: a letter sent to the white house was similar to two poison-laced envelopes mailed to new york city mayor michael bloomberg and his gun control group. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on the suspicious packages that contained threats of gun violence and possibly the deadly poison ricin. >> brown: then, we take a closer look at james comey, a former top justice department official in the bush administration, widely reported to be president obama's pick to head the f.b.i. >> woodruff: we begin a series
10:01 pm
of reports on long term care in america. tonight, ray suarez tells the story of one woman's struggle to care for her mother with alzheimer's. >> nobody understands my mother the way i do and someone can take care of her and provide sustenance but no one can take care of my mother the way i do. >> brown: we examine a chinese company's bid to buy smithfield farms, one of america's oldest and biggest pork producers and the questions raised by the deal. >> woodruff: and we close with the authors of a new memoir. brothers who came from india to the u.s. in the '70s and became doctors at the top of their fields. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
10:02 pm
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> more than two years ago, the people of b.p. made a commitment to the gulf. and everyday since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we shared what we've learned so that we can all produce energy more safely. b.p. is also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial
10:03 pm
literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: the word came from the secret service today: another suspicious letter has been intercepted at the white house mail screening facility. it's undergoing testing. the letter is similar to two others sent from louisiana to new york city mayor michael bloomberg and to his group advocating gun control. those have tested positive initially for ricin. new york police commissioner ray kelly discussed the situation today. >> i believe that there are three letters, the letters i also believe are the same.
10:04 pm
they are addressed on front of the envelope, but not in the letter itself. in the letter it says you and then it starts off with the narrative. so, i don't want to re-publish the letters. that would be doing the bidding of the individual who sent these letters. but the letter in essence complains about gun control and says that anyone who comes for my guns will be shot in the face. >> brown: for the latest on the investigation, we turn to jeff mason. he covers the white house for reuters. welcome. >> thank you. >> brown: a lot is not known at this point but what can we say about the new letter? >> they are not saying where they came from but they looked out for letters after the ones sent to mayor bloomberg, and intercepted this particular letter at that mail service facility. they were ready for it. they did not open it, but when they saw it had similar aspects to the ones sent to bloomberg and his group, they stopped it.
10:05 pm
they grabbed it. and they turned it over to the f.b.i. gliew as far as we know when they say "similar " sloos n terms of what? >> probably the postage and from where it came. >> brown: in terms of the letters to mayor bloomberg we heard police chief kelly talk about specific ties to guns. >> correct. and the president has, obviously, been out in front on gun control as well. although, i not everything he wt of he wants has passed. >> announcer: how does this work? this facility, where is it? who is looking for things? >> there is a lot of mail that goes to the president every year. more than 1 million of packages and letters come in through a facility in washington, d.c. so there are people who look through that mail or divide it and make sure it goes to the right place every day. and they have a screening
10:06 pm
process, and in this case, as i said before, the secret service was watching out for something after this news broke about the mail in new york. >> brown: this is deliberately away from the white house, right? there's a history here. >> tindeed, and it's important to note that this letter never made it to the president, just like the previous time when this happened several weeks another the letter never made it as far as the white house itself or to the president. there is a reason why there is a screening facility, and this is one of them. >> brown: what can we say about ricin itself? remind us a little bit about what it is, how it works. >> sure. it's very dangerous. it can be lethal within 36-72 hours. it comes naturally-- appears naturally nonetheless castor bean and neez to be-- there neez to be a deliberative action to make it into poison or into a biological weapon so that would have had to have been done in this particular case. >> brown: how lethal? it could be the amount of a
10:07 pm
pinpoint to be lethal and to be lethal quickly. >> brown: when we were referring to the other letter sent to the president, that was only last month. >> yeah. >> brown: in that case, somebody was arrested. >> somebody was arrested from mississippi, and in this case, the letters to new york-- or to bloomberg were from louisiana. they'll certainly be looking to fiend who sent these. >> brown: is there any-- i guess one could think there might be a copycat situation going on here. >> could be a copycat. i spoke to the secret service and they said it's too soon to say if there is a connection. >> brown: there was also this month a man charged with sending a ricin-laced throart a federal judge in washington state. >> right. so it is happening. also person to note that authorities do say often when letter comes that say they have anthrax or rice ni ricin in thet turns out to be baking soda.
10:08 pm
in the case of the letter sent to bloomberg they said there was a substance within them that had a blue or orangish hue and that's what led them to be suspicious. >> brown: do we know what happens next or when we learn more? >> yeah, we don't know when we'll learn more. we do know, however, the f.b.i. and secret service is investigating. so they'll be looking into is this very closely and hopefully gig us details once they have them. >> announcer: all right, jeff mason of reuters, thank you. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": the president's expected pick to head the f.b.i., the challenge of caring for a mother with alzheimer's; china's desire for american pork and the chopra brothers on writing and medicine. but first, the other news of the day. >> holman: there was no break in the bloodshed in iraq today. at least 33 people were killed in baghdad, amid a surge of sectarian violence. it's a scene that's becoming all too familiar again in iraq: street crews cleaning up the carnage left by bombs.
10:09 pm
>> ( translated ): we were sitting inside our shops when we heard a bang. we don't know what happened, but people are saying that a car went off as it was moving. >> holman: most of today's attacks were car bombings that targeted shi-ite sections of baghdad and hardly any part of the iraqi capital was spared. a car bombing also hit a mostly sunni section of the city. a day earlier, 30 iraqis died in bomb blasts in two other baghdad neighborhoods. >> ( translated ): bombs went off here. one here and the other one there. many people were hurt. why? what is our guilt? >> holman: indeed, iraq is facing its worst outbreak of violence since u.s. forces withdrew in december 2011. more than 500 people have been killed in may, and more than 700 died in april, the deadliest month since 2008. the violence surged in april after security forces of iraq's shi-ite-led government raided a sunni protest camp north of
10:10 pm
baghdad, killing 20. sunni militants and al-qaeda's iraqi wing responded, and the killing scarcely has paused since then. a shi-ite militia group said but prime minister nouri al maliki vowed this week that perpetrators of the violence will be hunted down, no matter who they are. >> ( translated ): we will chase all kinds of outlawed militias and gangs that want to instigate a wave of sectarian conflict and violence which as far as we are concerned constitute a red line. >> holman: despite the tough talk, iraq's foreign minister acknowledges there's real danger of returning to the dark days of a few years ago. >> it's the government's responsibilities to redouble its efforts, to revise its security plans to contain this wave to prevent that from sliding into sectarian conflict, or war, as you and i witnessed in 2006- 2007. >> holman: iraqis also fear the example of neighboring syria,
10:11 pm
where sectarian divisions are helping to fuel a civil war. in syria, president bashar al-assad raised new fears today, saying his government has received new weapons from russia. he did not say if they include advanced air defense missiles. such weapons could threaten any attempt to impose a no-fly zone over syria. assad spoke to a lebanese t.v. station that's owned by hezbollah, the militia that is now aiding his military. >> ( translated ): the contracts with russia are not connected to the crisis, we have been negotiating with them on different types of weapon for years. russia and syria are committed to implementing the contracts. we have agreed upon with russia will be implemented. some of it was implemented previously and we and the russians are still continuing to implement the contracts. >> holman: also today, syrian rebels urgently appealed for military and humanitarian aid in the town of qusair. government forces now control most of the strategic town near the lebanese border after a 12-
10:12 pm
day battle. the rebels say hundreds of wounded are trapped there and might die unless they get help. taliban militants in pakistan have withdrawn an offer to hold peace talks with the country's government. the announcement today came a day after the group's number two commander waliur rehman was reported killed in a u.s. drone strike. the taliban confirmed his death today. a spokesman said the pakistani government has condoned the drone attacks, so there can be no peace negotiations. in economic news, the obama administration announced it's extending its main foreclosure- prevention program known as "hamp" for two more years, through 2015. so far, the program has helped just more than one million homeowners rework their loan terms. the administration initially estimated three to four times that number would benefit. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained more than 21 points to close at 15,324. the nasdaq rose more than 23 points to close at 3,491.
10:13 pm
the outspoken priest and author reverend andrew greeley died last night at his home in chicago. over decades, greeley was widely quoted and interviewed on matters concerning the catholic church. he openly criticized the church's failure to prevent and punish child sex abuse involving priests. he also voiced frustration with the primacy of the vatican, as in this 1995 interview with the "newshour." >> i don't approve of the authoritarianism or the centralization of the vatican. i think that's a deplorable practice, and it's hurting the church. the church does change its moral teachings as it understands the human condition better. i think most people, most ordinary folks out in the parishes are catholics because they like being catholic. they like the stories; they like the imagery; they like the ceremonies; they like the rituals; and particularly they like the parish community. that's what holds them in, and that's why they're not going to give it up. >> holman: greeley authored more than 50 best-selling novels, dozens of non-fiction works, and a weekly column for the "chicago sun-times."
10:14 pm
he was 85 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: we turn back to washington and examine the man president obama is expected to choose as the new f.b.i. dirtoec and what he'll face leading the agency. james comey would come to the f.b.i. with a republican resume, and a history of taking positions that won him democratic support. between 2003 and 2005, comey served as deputy attorney general in the bush administration. in 2004, while his boss john ashcroft was ill, comey refused to re-authorize the administration's program of warrant-less wiretapping. that led to a confrontation with white house chief of staff andrew card, and white house counsel alberto gonzales at ashcroft's hospital bedside. comey recounted the incident at a senate hearing in 2007. >> i was very upset. i was angry.
10:15 pm
i thought i just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me. >> woodruff: a year later, comey tried, unsuccessfully, to limit waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods used on terror suspects. since leaving the justice department, he's served as a corporate attorney, first at lockheed martin, and later at the hedge fund bridgewater associates. those ties to business may raise questions for some. in a statement last night, republican senator chuck grassley of iowa said: comey is also sure to face confirmation questions about how he would handle leaks of sensitive information. the obama justice department is
10:16 pm
now under scrutiny for its tough tactics with journalists. comey addressed the subject in a speech in 2007. >> troop movements, search warrants about to be executed, the undercover identify of a covert operative with the c.i.a., some things can't leak. the flip side of that is when they do leak, the government has to do something about it. has to. because we care about the rule of law, we care about some >> woodruff: if he is nominated and confirmed, comey would replace the current f.b.i. director robert mueller, who assumed the agency's top spot just seven days before the september 11th attacks. so, how will comey be received on capitol hill? and what challenges lay ahead for the f.b.i. and the beleaguered justice department under attorney general eric holder? we turn to phil mattingly of bloomberg news and michael schmidt of the "new york times."
10:17 pm
welcome to you both. phil mattingly, why did the president turn to james comey from the bush administration? >> james comey kind of checks all o boxes. he's' republican, a bush appointee, but he's onearchs we just heard, gained a lot of respect from democrats during his role in the bush administration. he's one that's going to get support from both sides. >> woodruff: richard norton mic, what is it did his resume and experience that qualifies him for the job? >> he's pretty much done everything at the justice department. he produced martha stewart. he prosecuted terrorists. he appointed someone to do a leak investigation. he dealt with significant national security issues between 2003 and 2005. he did gun cases in richmond, virginia, so there's a white swath of things and in all of them he's gotten very high accolades. in sort of the temperature up on capitol hill, he's seen as someone who will be fairly easy or easier to get confirmed.
10:18 pm
>> woodruff: phil mattingly, what about his views-- we heard a little about that on the clip-- his views on civil liberties. do they square with the obama administration? >> it's an interesting mix. we heard from the a.c.l.u., came out with a statement just about an hour ago, "look, we understand he's viewed as a white knight by democrats for his willingness to stand up to senior bushff how much, he signed off on a number of the programs president bush used to counter terrorism. itis split the difference type issue. i think the important thing you'll see from the obama administration, the important pitch to capitol hill with his nomination is, look, on some of the moz egregious of froms, james comey was willing to stand firm, to stand up to most senior officials and really take a stand for civil liberties despite some of the programs he signed off on. >> woodruff: how unusual was
10:19 pm
it for the deputy continual to stand up to the white house counsel, the white house chief of staff? >> i think what he was doing there he's gotten credit for is standing up for the law in the face of politics. i'm sure there have been a lot of examples of it but i'm not sure there was one where it defined someone's career as much as his. i'm not sure if we would be talking about a nomination for him today if the story had not come out. it gives him a bipartisan feel that's very important than certainly the other person who was considered for the job-- lisa monaco, who worked at the white house-- and pretty much anybody else. there's something different about him that distinguishes him. >> woodruff: we should say, there has not been an announcement. it's out there in the media, it's expected bb but we don't know for sureric holder reacheds
10:20 pm
organizations, amid the controversy of how aggressive the justice department is, going after reporters and investigating government leaks, classified information. why do they want these meetings today with news organization executives? >> this is attorney general holder, and this is actually at the request the president obama. this is his effort to reach out. people familiar with this at the justice department there has been a sense maybe on the leak investigations, there might have been some over-reach. there are at least some issues that they wish would have gone a little bit different or at least appeared a little different. he's reaching out in an effort to start a dialogue for this review ordered by president obama. the media organization reaction has been mixed. the justice department wants things to be off the record. several organizations have said if it's not on the record we don't want to do it. what you're seeing is the justice department reaching out and not get, the response they
10:21 pm
wanted but it's the start of a process. >> we know the editor of the "new york times" said they will not participate in a meeting they were invited to. >> all we know is the meeting is going on-- was going on this after disprks beyond that, nothing else has really come out. you know, we're sort of waiting, like everyone else. >> woodruff: why-- is there a sense-- michael schmidt-- that justice, that officials at justice, when it's the continual or people around him or for that matter the white house are now regretting happened with these episodes, go after the ap, going after the reporter at fox news? >> yeah, i mean, it certainly eye i don't think you would have seen what was going to go on today in that type of meeting if these things hadn't come out. so there's certainly an effort to reach out and to try to
10:22 pm
assuage some of the fears about what's going on. will that have any impact or how seriously will be taken i think remains to be seen. it remains mixed at best so far. >> woodruff: phil mattingly, what is the sense why the continual has managed to engender some really tough criticism aimed in his direction. not just from republicans but now the nude media, and even some democrats. >democrats. >democrats. >> as you know, he's got pressure from capitol hill. what differentiate who's going on right now is you've got democrats. you have liberal commentators cs who are come out and really not only questioning his role in the leak investigations but actually asking for him to step down or asking for him to at least consider that process. i think what you're seeing out of his office right now and out of the justice department why
10:23 pm
they're reaching out, why they're involved in this view. they're grasping the enormous of what occurred here, and thing trier trying to address it perfect it becomes a bigger issue. >> woodruff: what's your sense, how the attorney general has managed to draw so much attention, and a lot of it not positive. >> he seems to get the most criticism out of all of the cabinet secretaries, and it seems to happen everyone few months and several times a year where there's something like this that blows up. so it makes you wonder what he's doing and why he's not maybe being proactive enough to have-- to try and knock some of these things down. certainly the other secretaries teal with controversial things like this and probably the continual is one of the most controversial, but he doesn't seem to be able to fend it off the the way that the others do. maybe he's too aloof. i'm not sure. i was talking to one senior government official today who said early on in "fast and furious" there was-- he had a lot of trouble sort of pushing
10:24 pm
back on that, and that allowed it to snowball and become this sort of republican issue that they've used against holder and the white house. >> woodruff: quickly, finally, phil mattingly, connection between the difficulties holder's having and the choice of comb? >> i think this decision was made really before all of this stuff blew up, is my understanding from talking to government officials. i think the idea-- the timing of it doesn't hurt, and certainly going after a bipartisan pick like this, if nothing else tshifts the narrative fair day or two and certainly when james comey is on the hill, whenever that does occur, i think that looks better for the administration than having eric holder trying to fend off issues with leak investigations. >> woodruff: again, we want to stress there has not been a nomination yet. but a lot of news reports that point in that direction. phil mattingly, michael schmidt, i thank you both.
10:25 pm
>> brown: now, the first in an occasional series of stories about long-term care. with baby boomers aging and living longer, more people will need it. but new research has shown most americans have done little or nothing to plan for these situations that can carry a heavy emotional and economic toll. we're calling our series "taking care." ray suarez kicks it off with the story of one family's struggle with a debilitating disease. >> this is my mother mary elizabeth wyant. she is 74 years old and was diagnosed with alzheimers at the age of 65. she is a retired professional artist and a former professor at the university of arizona. my name is rebecca wyant and i'm her youngest daughter and her primary caregiver and guardian. >> reporter: it's been nine years since mary wyant was first diagnosed with alzheimers. in 2006 she moved in with her daughter, making rebecca part of a growing population of
10:26 pm
americans, now nearly one in five adults, who provide unpaid care for family members over the age of 50. rebecca says her mother used to be a fun-loving and vibrant artist, who was always at the center of attention. >> very creative, very outgoing, very gregarious, very much a social butterfly and just liked to be around people. she could take nothing and create something magnificent from that, so very smart but more than anything it was just her energy and social skills and her ability to engage with people, with anybody. >> reporter: today that mary still comes out from time to time, but often it's seen only in short spurts and can be followed by rapid mood swings, incoherent outbursts and blank stares. mary exhibits all the symptoms of what the alzheimers association has called the defining disease of baby boomers with ten million in that age
10:27 pm
group expected to develop this form of dementia in the coming years. jeanette wendt is mary's neurologist. >> she has severe language difficulties and has very severe memory problems and really has the inability to take care of herself. >> reporter: moving to tucson was a homecoming of sorts for mary, who had raised her daughters there, but had been living in central america with her second husband. when the marriage fell apart, rebecca became mary's legal guardian and her primary caregiver. rebecca is now on call from the moment mary wakes up every morning. getting her mother out of bed and dressed. and then helping to brush her teeth, combing her hair and figuring out new strategies for medication. >> come on, don't choke on this. >> reporter: it can be stressful and difficult.
10:28 pm
>> i mean, it's a 115 pound two- year-old who is not potty trained. >> reporter: even awkward at times in public. >> people still when they talk to her speak in a very loud voice because they think people with alzheimers can't hear. or they speak very slowly and i try and explain to them she's not understanding what you are saying so you don't have to worry about that, i mean, just speak in your normal voice and just go with the flow, but it's very uncomfortable for a lot of people because they don't understand the disease. >> reporter: but rebecca says people need to understand that her family's situation, all of it, is normal. and not without special moments. >> every now and then she'll-- i don't know what sparks in her mind-- but she'll just say, "oh," and she'll turn and she'll look at me and she has something to say to me. you can just see it in her face and then it's gone but for that moment you just know i know
10:29 pm
she's still in there. so when she manages to let a little bit of that out that's wonderful. >> reporter: rebecca, who owns a self-serve dog wash and retail business, brings mary to work where she'll stay until the shop closes in the evening. it's round-the-clock care that rebecca says she was willing to take on for one simple reason. take care of her and provide >> nobody understands my mother the way i do and someone can take care of her and provide sustenance but no one can take care of my mother the way i do. >> reporter: and her experiences will likely be shared by millions in the coming decades. the number of americans 65 and older is expected to more than double in the next 40-years, due in large part to aging baby boomers. the government estimates 70% of those over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care. but a recent poll conducted by
10:30 pm
the associated press and the national opinion research center found nearly two-thirds of americans over the age of 40 have done little or no planning for their potential long-term care needs, such as setting aside money or talking with family members about how they want to be cared for. that survey was funded by the scan foundation, which is a "newshour" underwriter. again, doctor jeanette wendt. >> the vast majority have not thought about it and have not made plans even if they have an inkling or they even in their heart know that's what's going on, they don't want to address it with the person who has the problem. >> reporter: and until it became clear mary would need long-term care, the wyants hadn't discussed the subject either. >> there was really no long term planning. it was right now what do we have to do. right now, someone's got to be her guardian because i've got to have the ability to make decisions for her on any level and we didn't want to wait until it got so bad. >> reporter: the issues around
10:31 pm
aging are easy to ignore and often difficult to talk about and address, but communities around the country, including tucson, have long had federally funded programs that are supposed to help people like the wyants. in 1965 congress passed the "older americans act" which provided for the creation of a national network of agencies on aging to support community social services for older people. tucson's pima council on aging is one with caregiver specialists like suzy bourque. >> often people will come in for a parent but then they'll think okay this tells me i need to do my own power of attorney i need to think about how i'm going to pay for long term care. most people they need to think about the fact that whatever care they may develop a need for is going to be very costly. >> reporter: bourque also connects caregivers to experts and services and rebecca has
10:32 pm
contacted the agency several times with basic questions. but like many organizations dealing with budget cuts, this one too has had to cut back on how many people it serves. >> the population of the over 60 in tucson has greatly increased so we're not meeting the need even as well as we did 20 years ago. >> reporter: that means caregivers like rebecca wyant often must navigate a complicated and opaque health care system practically alone. rebecca had been paying for mary's care with her own earnings and her mothers assets. but when mary's money was gone. she qualified for financial assistance through arizona's long-term care program, but the enrollment process took several years. now the state pays rebecca for some of the time she spends looking after her mother: 14 hours each week or roughly $500- a month. it's a small amount, but money rebecca says she is immensely grateful for.
10:33 pm
>> i don't have benefits that i receive from an employer. if the business makes some money that doesn't necessarily come to me, it goes back into the business so any little bit helps. >> reporter: but long-term care doesn't just exhaust financial resources. dr. wendt is concerned that like many full-time caregivers, rebecca may be putting her own health at risk. >> she's a great caregiver but i think she is at great risk of burnout because you know, it's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. you never know what they are going to do in the middle of the night, you never know if they are going to get up and try to leave the house or turn the stove on and try to make something, burn the house down. i mean, it's really always on edge and so it's extremely stressful. >> reporter: rebecca, as a small business owner, has been unable to find affordable health insurance that could help her manage the physical and
10:34 pm
emotional toll. and she says she also doesn't have the money to put her mother into a long-term care facility she would be comfortable with. even so, she's happy to still have mary at home. >> it's not always perfect but she's my mother and you can't dwell what was or what might be. it's what it is today and so she's alive, she's functioning, she's getting up, she's moving around, she has happy moments and not so happy moments but it's not a sad situation. >> reporter: rebecca plans to take care of mary for as long as she possibly can, even if she has to sell her business to do it. >> brown: online, see how alzheimer's has affected mary wyant's art work. we have a multimedia slideshow from the painter. and how do you recognize the early warning signs of alzheimer's? we have more information on our health page.
10:35 pm
>> woodruff: next, a chinese company made the biggest play yet for a u.s. company in a bid for virginia's smithfield foods. china's appetite for pork keeps growing and growing: it's now the largest market for pork products in the world. >> when i was young, my family could only afford to have pork once or twice a year. we were poor and our clothes were covered with patches. >> woodruff: with increasing prosperity and more consumption of luxury goods across china, meat consumption has quadrupled over the past 30 years. now, china's largest meat processor shuanghui known as "shine-way" in the western world has turned to the world's largest pork producer. >> smithfield pouch pack, a new way to love bacon. >> woodruff: shine-way is
10:36 pm
offering to buy smithfield foods for $4.7 billion. smithfield is headquartered in smithfield, virginia right outside norfolk. it's been a family-owned company since 1936 and some smithfield workers said yesterday they want to keep it that way. curtis bond appealed to c.e.o. c. larry pope. >> we work hard, help build this company from the ground up, a long time ago, there were other generations., think about it a little more, give us some thought. >> woodruff: locals in smithfield also expressed worry about losing jobs if the company is sold. >> you know how it is with mergers, next thing there will be layoffs, then they'll be moving the headquarters. >> woodruff: but smithfield c.e.o. pope says if anything, the deal will create jobs; and he dismisses any fears of chinese meat flooding the u.s.
10:37 pm
>> woodruff: it's not a done deal: smithfield says rival bids may still come from companies in brazil and thailand. for more on what this deal might mean both here and in china, we turn to two economists who follow these matters. steve meyer is president of paragon economics, an agricultural markets analysis firm. he formerly served as director of economics for the national pork producers council. and thilo hanemann tracks chinese global investment at the rhodium group, an economic research firm. welcome to you both. thilo hanemann, to you first, why would the chinese be interested in smithfield? >> right. the smithfield-shuanghui
10:38 pm
transaction is quite representative for a common motive we see for chinese acquisitions in the's which is not primarily to expand spot u.s. market but becoming more competitive in the fast-growing home market. as the clip showed, pork consumption is still growing at very fast rates back in china but there are tremendous problems with the food safety there. by acquiring a company in the u.s., shuanghui hopes to tap spot quality control expertise of that company, transferring some of that back to the chinese infrastructure and using an american household brand name to toicate cater to domestic chinese consumers. >> woodruff: steve meyer, right now, what portion of the world-- meat market, pork market-- does smithfield have? >> well, smithfield foods is the largest producer in the world of pork for exphogz pork. they have a market share on the processing side somewhere around 24%, 25% in the united states.
10:39 pm
they have about 16% of the u.s. breeding herd. but we need to remember this the u.s. pig industry, though large and important, is a fraction of what is in china. they have 10 times as many picion as we have, in china. so it's a very large market already. it's growing because of those income factors that you've cited earlier. and people there love pork. as they get more money they're going to impriewch their diets and add more meat protein to those diets. >> woodruff: is there a role-- in listening to this before we get much further on the question of meat and pork, i want to come back to you, thilo hanemann, does the chinese government play a role in all of this? how do you see that? >> well, people always have that understanding that chinese investment is all government directed and part of a grander strategy. but i think the truth is actually quite the opposite. restrictions on the government side are a major factor why we're only seeing this
10:40 pm
investment happening now and not earlier because the chinese government had imposed very strict controls on the outflow of capital, and only recently the regime of capital outflows has been reformed. i think they're playing a more supportive role in retracting from that field and letting chinese companies do those floabl deals. i think the influence of the government is fairly low. >> woodruff: so this is a company that seems to be moving because it thinks it's a good move. steve meyer, what does this bring to shuanghui, the chinese company fit were able to pull off this merger? >> well, i think, to support what thilo said a while ago, this is an issue of them accessing a consistent supply of the united states pork production doesn't change much from year to year. we have been on a steady uptrend for many years. a consistent supply of
10:41 pm
high-quality, wholesome products, china has had trouble with their supply chain in the past. they have endemic disease problems that have caused deaths among picion there. i think the big thing is access to the supply. access to professionalism and expertise of the smithfield food staff and management. >> woodruff: and from the american perspective, staying with you, steve meyer, what should the concerns be? we heard the workers at smithfield saying they're worried about their jobs. we know today, we talked to other folks in the veterinary immediate field who say there are concerns about safety downtown road, especially if the company were to take all the processing to china. >> well, i mean, that's-- i guess that's always a possibility. at this point, i think you have to take them at their word that they're not going to make any big change. this is a successful company.
10:42 pm
there are not a lot of reasons to toy with this thing. some of the fears that have been expressed, is the food safety. we are not going to be importing chinese product. they're going to take our product to their market, not bring it here. i don't think food safety is an issue. it doesn't change the strubteral characteristics of the u.s. pork production or processing sectors. it doesn't change the amount of vertical integration that's here. i don't see a negative for the u.s. pork industry. i think it is positive because i think it will help grow our exportports to chine and provide possibilities for other producers and processors in the united states to increase their production, and to keep our domestic prices at some competitive equilibrium like it has in the past. sloapgz our producers are allowed to respond to the
10:43 pm
market. >> woodruff: what about the concerns we're hearing from folks in the u.s., whether they're worried about jobs. whether they're worried about food safety, market share, and so forth. >> right, i very much support what steve just said. i think if you look at the deal and its commercial logic, what the chinese company is really interested in is the supply chain, and the "made in the u.s." brand. it would be very foolish of them to sell a local operation. it will certainly pring some of the expertise back and ask the management team and the experienced staff that they have to streamline some of the domestic value chains and distribution channels. but i think overall, the chinese ump and certainly, also, its chinese government, will see this as a positive contribution to domestic food security and
10:44 pm
efficiency. >> woodruff: steve myer what about just the idea, a big part of the american meat, pork business could be foreign owned? >> well, that's something that americans-- you know, we have to decide our comfort level with that. it is not the first time this happened. in the 70s and 80s we feared the japanese would buy the whole country. they owned pebble beach. my goodness, that's a serious deal. before that it was the arab countries. we do have to be comfortable with that and while there's a committee that will review this. i don't see national security issues. there have been concernses raise. if we export all the pork, as long as we can respond to the market, we'll grow more, and we have plenty of food in the united states. we can argue that distribution sometimes, but still i don't think there's a real issue there that merits a lot of
10:45 pm
handwringing on our part, even though at some point we have to be concerned about foreign ownership. i don't think we're nearly at that point in my mine. >> woodruff: as americans are eating less pork, the chinese are eating per. gentlemen thank you both for being with us,s can mire, thilo hanemann >> brown: finally tonight: a tale of two brothers. immigrants to the u.s. who came from india in the 1970s. doctors who've had great success and impacts in different worlds of medicine. their story is told in the new book, "brotherhood: dharma, destiny and the american dream". it's a double memoir by deepak and sunjiv chopra. older brother deepak is the best-selling author and authority on eastern medicine. younger brother sunjiv is a professor at the harvard medical school and himself author of
10:46 pm
five books. i sat down with them recently. welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> brown: a key character clearly in your lives, obviously, and the to a lot of what you did is your father air, physician himself, deeply involved, thoughtful man. tell me-- tell bus him, and what he meant. >> it's very clear he was the most important influence in both ourselves live, not that our mother wasn't. she was a great storyteller, but he was an amazing, skilled, cardiologist and physician. he trained at a time when the e.come g. was just coming, in 1940 necessary england with the people who had actually invented the e.k.g. machine. heeblgd listen to the heart and tell the exact electrical, into the microseconds, the difference between the oracle and the ventricle of beat.
10:47 pm
he was that good. he was an amazing diagnostician, but he was compassionate, empathetic, storied teller. a renaissance man. >> brown: the two of you clearly followed in his footsteps studying medicine. sometimes there's a flip side of a father-son relationship, of a rebellion against the father. was that there that as well? >> i think deepak did. he didn't want to be a doctor. he wanted to be a journalist. >> he wanted both of us to go into the profession and i didn't want to. i wanted to be a writer, fiction, mostly, and on my 14th birthday he gived me a few novels by great people like st. claire lewis, and all the protagonists in all the novels were fdle. fdles-- physician. >> a subliminal message there. he planted the seed.
10:48 pm
>> brown: and your experience was more straightforward? >> my experience was more straightforward. we were studying at st. columbus high school in delhi. i turned blind one day-- >> brown: you right about this. >> and i said, "deepak, deepak, i can't see." and he started crying. they took me to the military hospital in delhi. the doctors didn't have the foggiest idea as to what was going on,. thought of hysterical mindness, and our father 3,000 miles away, made the diagnosisinoseis, saying he was having a rare reaction to a serum, and give him nassive doses of prednisone, and my vision returned. i was afraid to go into cardiology because i thought he was such an esteemed cardiologist, he was physician to the president of the india.
10:49 pm
>> and to lord batten. and he was the first one to describe mount sickness, high-altitude primary hypertension, and when the indian soldiers were coming down with this strange sickness in the war with china, he land aid plane 22,000 feet above sea level and was putting tabs in people's charts while people were shooting each other. >> brown: you're known for ayverdic immediate. and your father considered this superstitious, folk wade, and here you are bringing to the u.s. that many thought was backwards. >> many still do. i was very selective. just because something is ancient doesn't mean it's good. there are certain things that have survived, and most are in the area of how consciousness
10:50 pm
affect ourselves biol. when i would say your biology is different in different states of consciousness, people said, "what is that?" i also trained in neuroencrinnology where it's very clear that every emotion you have is followed pie a molecule that represents that emotion. i was, of course, privy to this ancient wisdom through my only person experiences, and the experiences of my patients. bu>> brown: what kind of tensions did this bring about with you or your father? >> i thought deepak was being very courageous. >> brown: courageous. i was wondering about something different-- crazy. >> crazy, also. and he had a thriving practice in massachusetts. medical students from new england medical center, tufts medical school would rotate through the office.
10:51 pm
he would teach them. and one day announces he's going to go to california and do my body. to dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. today is nolose ones. of i think deepak found himself. >> california was more tolerant of hippies. >> brown: back then. the other thing you're clearly doing in this book is telling an immigrant story. >> that's true. >> brown: of come tying country and learning the ways, and especially the early chapters, you know the things so many have gone through and learning-- watching television and new food and all, right? to what degree-- let me ask you deepak, first-- to what degree do you feel you became an american, even years later, or how much do you still live in both worlded.
10:52 pm
>> i lived in both worlds and formative years never go away. they shape your personality. they shape your character. they shape your values. we have lived 22 years in india, so, obviously, we are american citizens, both of us received the ellis island award for contributions to the united states. i've been close to two u.s. presidents. and, you know, have had very good fortune meeting just about every major contributor in this country. so i consider myself an mirn with-- american withain indian accent. >> announcer: how do you feel about that? >> i do, too. i was fashionate about cricket. i don't even think about cricket anymore. our middle daughter who is married with two daughters when she was six one day came back
10:53 pm
from school and when i came back from the hospital she said, dad, i need to talk to you." i said, "is everything okay." and she said, "dad, are we crin or are we jewish?" and the reason is everybody at school was celebrating hanukkah and christmas with gifts. that was very tell. we used to celebrate the holiday called "the valley." we would do it for the weekend for the next several years, they didn't go to school that day. and the next day they went to school, and when her classmates asked what happened, they said we're explaining the valley. >> brown: we'll continue our conversation online. thank you both very much. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: the secret service said a suspicious letter was intercepted at the white house mail facility. it's similar to two letters laced with ricin, and mailed to new york city mayor michael bloomberg and his gun control
10:54 pm
group. the surge of sectarian bloodshed in iraq claimed another 33 lives in baghdad and syrian president assad said his country has received new weapons from russia, but he did not say if they include advanced air- defense missiles. >> brown: online, we announce the finalists-- drumroll, please-- in our science rap contest. kwame holman has more. >> holman: can the big bang theory be explained in 16 bars of verse? we challenged viewers to do just that: break down a scientific concept in a rap. we've got the finalists from more than 100 entries. watch all the last raps standing, on our homepage. yesterday on making sense, economist paul krugman argued government debt should not be the chief concern. today, former reagan administration budget boss david stockman, warns of catastrophe unless government spending is cut. all that and more is on our website jeff? >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff.
10:55 pm
we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> more than two years ago, the people of b.p. made a commitment to the gulf. and everyday since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we shared what we've learned so that we can all produce energy more safely. b.p. is also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. >> i want to make things more secure. >> i want to treat more dogs. >> our business needs more cases. >> where do you want to take your business? >> i need help selling art. >> from broadband, to web hosting, to mobile apps, small business solutions from a.t.&t.
10:56 pm
can help get you there. we can show you how a.t.&t. solutions can help your business today. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
10:57 pm
10:58 pm
10:59 pm
11:00 pm
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with a former chairman of the federal reserve, paul volcker. he made a speech yesterday in which he said he need to have more emphasis on governance. making the country's government work. >> theys will served a purpose of delays and obscuring. they serve a purpose, like you really got this wrong and maybe change it around a little bit. but these days, of course, it is really something that all the congressional people, the only ones they talk about is their campaign expenditures. and they're very big. and that gives a lobbyist a big leverage that they never had before. they can wink


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on